Only Elizabeth David…..

April 3, 2015

Been reading Elizabeth David's wonderful An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, as I prepare for a workshop at the Iceland Writer's Retreat next week. So much great stuff here.  This particular sentence stopped me cold: 

“I can only say that there are times when one positively craves for something totally unsensational; the meals in which every dish is an attempted or even a successful tour de force are always a bit of a trial.”

A little bit later I came upon this recipe for an extremely unsensational chick pea salad.  Intriguing: it's basically hummus without the tahini, and without being pureed. (And I'm curious about that tablespoon of flour.  What's that doing there?) 

Elizabeth David’s Salade de Pois Chiches

Soak 1/2 lb. of chick peas overninght in plenty of cold water into which you stir a tablespoon of flour.  Next day put them in a suacepan with the same water, plus a half teaspoon of baking soda.  Simmer them for an hour. Skim and strain.

Rinse out the saucepan, fill it with 3 pints fresh water, bring to the boil, add a tablespoon of salt, put in the chick peas and simmer another 1 to 2 hours until the peas are perfectly tender and the skins beginning to break.

Strain them (keep the liquid – it will make a good basis for a vegetable soup), put them in a bowl and while still hot stir in plenty of olive oil, sliced onion, garlic, parsley and a little vinegar.


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  • I love your blog. You are a role model for me. You have interesting things to say, you have a mix, and a great voice. I agree with Elizabeth. Sometimes unsensational is the best. A good example is potato salad with egg and mayonnaise, which I just rediscovered.

  • The baking soda I get, if she lives where the water is acid, as I do and interferes with beans softening, but the flour, not sure will have to give it a try. Did you?

  • For me, the unsensational is as simple and satisfying as poached eggs on sourdough toast. Truly delicious and satisfying.
    And I agree – the flour is an odd addition….


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